Thrive is an approach to learning supported by a platform, curriculum and community designed to help youth realize their potential and thrive in a complex, rapidly changing, digitally connected world.
We are at an exciting time in which innovative technologies, learning sciences research, and the changing educational ecosystems make possible the realization of transformative research-based learning innovations. Whether the learning is interest driven or externally mandated, it is now possible to build learning trajectories that can allow ALL learners to achieve in ways that unlock meaningful life and career pathways. It is this possibility that drives the Thrive initiative.
The global education sector is going through deep and systemic changes. Tablets and low-cost laptops are becoming ubiquitous, traditional paper-based textbooks are going away, curriculum is becoming unbundled, classrooms are becoming a blend of self-directed and facilitated learning. There is also growing awareness that we are not effectively preparing a large percentage of our youth with the essential skills, literacies, and dispositions necessary to thrive in an increasingly complex, rapidly changing and digitally connected world. At the same time, we have made significant advances in understanding how people learn and how these insights can be accelerated and scaled through technology and innovative public-private partnerships.
These changes are driving new approaches to curriculum design, to teaching, learning, and assessment as well as to publishing models that facilitate broad-based access, fidelity of implementation and offer continual optimization for rapidly changing ecosystem. There is, of course, no silver bullet for addressing these complex, systemic challenges. However, we are at an exciting time in which innovative technologies, learning sciences research and changing educational ecosystems make possible the realization of transformative approaches to learning. Increasingly, research is pointing to the promise of inquiry-based blended learning as an effectively methodology for addressing these challenges.
Further, research is also indicating that game-infused approaches can make inquiry-based blended learning more engaging and effective; offering learners the opportunity to take on different roles, engage with relevant challenges, fail safely, receive copious feedback from well-prepared and motivated teachers and mentors who are provided tools to easily and effectively implement, adapt and extend the learning to meet their local needs. Significantly, game-based learning has the potential to foster an engaged and purposeful learner who seeks actionable feedback in order to achieve aspirational goals—a key requirement for being able to thrive in a rapidly changing, digitally connected world.
Being able to thrive requires building within the learner the capacity to continually build the capacity to take on new challenges across disciplines and throughout their life. We unlock this potential by providing an engaging curriculum that structures learning as a combination of aspirational goals, as well as carefully sequenced self-directed and facilitated activities designed to cultivate the critical dispositions and essential literacies necessary to unlock relevant and exciting futures. Whether the learning is interest driven or externally mandated, the goal is to ensure that ALL learners develop the ability, confidence, and commitment to achieve at the highest levels.
The Thrive vision has emerged out of a collaboration between the Center for Games and Impact E-Line Media, and is based on the following pedagogical pillars which are being realized across multiple projects and built into an impact-friendly business model. The underlying pedagogy is based on the following pillars.
About Sasha A. Barab PhD
Sasha Barab is a Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, where he co-founded and serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Games and Impact.
Dr. Barab is an internationally recognized Learning Scientist who holds the Pinnacle West Chair of Education, and who has researched, designed, and published extensively on the challenges and opportunities of using games for impact.